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Tuesday Training Byte: What age to begin training

People often ask me what is the best age to begin training a dog. Now is the best time is my reply. Because my philosophy is that every interaction we have with our dogs is training them, the training happens throughout the dog's life. Generally, the first year I focus on learning to be a good dog. This means house training, crate training, manners, socialization, riding in the car, and a few basic commands like sit. If you have a pup under 1 year of age, then taking the dog to an AKC STAR Puppy class is a great beginning. You can find a trainer and classes on the American Kennel Club website. Mixed breeds are welcome to come and earn working titles. Many people like to start their pup around 4 months and earn the STAR Puppy title, then move on the earn the Canine Good Citizen title. If you have adopted an older or senior dog, you can still earn the CGC! Any dog can earn their trick dog title as well. These titles having overlapping skills and are a fun way to bond with your dog. If you have a timid dog, teaching your dog tricks will help build the bond at the same time as boosting the dog's confidence. If you have more time to invest, you may find it both fun and rewarding to enter a rally obedience competition. There are endless types of activities and titles you can earn with your dog, from dock diving and lure coursing, to barn hunt and fit dog. These events are great for all ages of people and their dog companions. Training can go through the entire life of the dog.

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